Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What is law?

10All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." 11Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith." 12The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, "The man who does these things will live by them. "13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." 14He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (Galatians 3:10-14)

Everyone is concerned with following the law and to a certain extent they should be. There are certain things that people should and should not do to each other in order to live in a civilized society. But think about how laws are created. Laws are usually created because people cannot always be trusted to do what is right and good all on their own. They must be told where to draw the line on their behavior.
The speed limit on roads and highways, for instance, has been legislated based upon what has been determined to be the maximum safe speed in order for people driving a particular road not to kill themselves and others. In order to drive safely, we must stay below the stated maximum limit. Now perhaps, in certain driving conditions, that maximum limit could still be too high for safe driving. If we were to use our own judgment, we would drive slower and some of us may use that judgment. Others may not be concerned about driving safely, and must be told to limit their speed. However, as long as we maintain our speed below the limit posted, we are legal, yet an accident can still occur.
Jesus did not want us to mindlessly follow the law. Jesus was never about looking for the minimum or maximum limits of love and compassion. Jesus never said, this is the least that you can do for one another and still get to heaven. The law of Jesus is one that looks for the most we can do to be loving and compassionate, not the least, and there are no limits on love. Jesus did not preach about what we can get away with and still be legal. Jesus talked about doing and giving our all to God and to others. Doing what is legal in the human sense is following what someone else tells us to do. God's law is knowing what to do in our hearts and minds.
Paul saying that the righteous will live by faith means that we do not need the law to tell us what is right and good. We know what is right and good because that knowledge has been put into our hearts by God and our trust is in God.
We do not blindly live in the law of humanity, because the law of humanity is not always right and good. Even the laws of the church can be wrong at times. However, if we trust in God and allow God's law to be written on our hearts and minds, we will live in peace with one another. We cannot receive the promise of the Spirit though following human law. Only in allowing God to guide our path can we hope to reap the blessings of the Spirit.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

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